A few weeks ago I got into an accident that appeared to be pretty minor, but the repairs have taken much longer than expected because of a few things. I always try to roll with the punches and take everything in a positive way. I was just happy Ella was fine. I was fine. And the van would be fine. But after not having my home for so long, it’s finally starting to wear me down. I’ve gone from a hotel to an Airbnb to another Airbnb. Taking a couple bags of my belongings from place to place. I’m thankful to have incredible friends who have hung out with me the entire time I’ve been stuck and offered more support than I could’ve imagined. But I do try to be as transparent as possible and I acknowledge the fact that my life often can look a certain way. The truth is that this lifestyle has caused things to be wildly inconvenient and difficult these past few weeks. I lost my house, my transportation, and access to everything I own while the van is being worked on. Everything I had planned came to an immediate halt. I’m always grateful to be doing what I’m doing but it’s important to know that it comes with it’s share of negatives, just like anything else. I’ll be back on the road very soon though awaiting the next inevitable surprise. Let’s just hope that one is a little more fun. ❤️ For now, I’m gonna enjoy baby Ella mid yawn before our home was even built.
Sunny days spent at the park with these two while we’re stuck in Fresno for a bit 😍 When we were in San Diego a couple months back, I was walking Ella at a park when she quickly locked eyes with another dog and insisted on saying hello. After a few minutes of playing, we went our separate ways and that was that. The next day though, we were at the same park and I suddenly heard someone yelling. When I turned, @keepingfinn
was in a full sprint towards the friend he recognized from the day before. Fast forward and now we’ve actually caravanned several places together. I have a very similar story for almost all the friends I’ve made on the road. Ella never fails to introduce me to people that I otherwise would be missing out on. She breaks the ice with ease and greets them with a huge smile when I probably would’ve just kept to myself in the moment. I don’t know what I did to deserve this life or this girl but damn, did I get lucky or what.
First order of birthday business, a breakfast that will immediately call for a nap. Ella woke me up by licking my face early this morning. The sun is out and it’s already warming up outside. The dog park is full of friends we’ve made this week. Yeah.. I think today will do just fine. Very excited and even more thankful to be able to turn 24 while on the road doing what I love and connecting with so many people who inspire me everyday. Here’s to another year of growing and finding a happiness I used to only dream of having. ❤️ PS. My gynecologists’ office called at 7am and was the first to say happy birthday so there’s also that. 👌🏼
Here’s a quick rundown for anyone who’s jumped in along the ride.. I grew up in Indiana where my family still lives. I go back every few months because Facetime will never be enough. I moved to Chicago for college and lived there for 4 years. I worked over 70 hours a week during my senior year for the devil himself as an event coordinator. I was absolutely miserable, but it was that job which allowed me to save up for my first van with my partner at the time. We lived in that van together for about 8 months. The relationship ended, but the need to travel did not. I felt like I had barely scratched the surface. So I worked all summer to save up again (I do still work on the road), got another van, and left for the second time! Ella is my partner now. This van is my home. And all the confusing, messy moments when I was scared and didn’t know what was next.. they were all well worth it to be sitting where I am today.
The best kind of dinner for two. 🐶 I wish I could say that I take intentional social media breaks or I was doing something crazy the last few weeks. But the truth is that I just didn’t feel like posting. I’ve had some of my best moments on the road this month and I didn’t want to ruin them by picking up my phone every 3 seconds. I have no interest in watching life through a screen. There’s been times where I miss something amazing because I’m reaching for my phone to snap a photo. I have to remember that I won’t always live in this van with this girl. It could be a year or 20 years but eventually, it’ll all be in the past. The friends I’ve made recently are just too good to ignore by looking down at a phone. My dog is too cute not to play with because I’m busy scrolling. The places I’m going are way too cool to only see through a lens. So instead, I soak in every moment. Sometimes I post and sometimes I don’t. I will try to do better but please forgive me when I take a little time away to remember what’s important.
“It must get so lonely. Don’t you ever want to share it with someone?” There’s a lot to be said about traveling alone and loneliness. First of all, I share every day with Ella and she makes me happy. I have no idea what I’ll feel in a year or ten years. But today, she is what I need. Traveling alone, in my opinion, shouldn’t be lonely. I’m not by myself. I’m with myself. There are certainly days where I crave connection. So I go to the dog park and start a conversation or I’ll find a coffee house and talk to the barista. It’s kind of nice knowing that I’ll never see some people again. A quick, meaningful interaction can be more satisfying than you think. I’m also writing this from a parking lot where my best friends are parked on either side of me. It’s important to meet up with people who give you what you need. They make me laugh so hard that I have tears down my face every day I spend with them.. But next week, I’ll probably stay quiet in the desert just soaking up the silence. I balance my life with connection, as well as time alone. I don’t know what my life will look like in a few years and I have no intentions of planning it. But right now, this is the balance that I need and I assure you.. I am not lonely one bit.
Sometimes after a big gathering and a super busy week, I just want to decompress and get lost for a bit. When I started driving the other day, I had no idea where I was going for the night and somehow stumbled on this place. We’ve been here for 3 days now. There’s a ton of rain coming though so we’re heading to Phoenix for a week or so before our long journey up to the PNW. Thank you for all the recommendations of things to do on our way and once we get there! ❤️ I have an insane list going so if you have anything to add, please keep em coming. Honestly I don’t have much else to say today. I’m just happy with where I am right now in every way. I feel peaceful. Quiet. Content. Maybe we’ll sit here another minute before getting up. Remember my post about taking mental pictures? This is one of them.
A few years ago I was standing at a bus stop in Chicago. It was getting dark but still light enough not to worry. I pulled my phone out to mindlessly scroll until the bus arrived. A young man walked passed me, I looked up, and we both politely smiled. I looked back down at my phone and suddenly felt the presence of someone all over me. He took one huge lunge at me and it was all a blur. He grabbed me, picked me up, threw me back down, felt all over my body. I still have no idea if he was trying to rob me or assault me. But I was kicking and screaming so hard that I don’t think he knew what to do. Eventually he slid his hand between my legs, squeezed as tight as he could and ran off. It made no sense. What just happened? This is one story of many that I have and certainly not the worst of them. The reason I’m telling you this is because it would make perfect sense if I chose a safer life. One with no risks and little danger. But that’s not the life that I’ve fought so hard for. It’s not the life that I kicked and screamed to tell. You can choose the safer route and it would make perfect sense. But as women, we fight. We kick. And we scream from the rooftops. We’re here. And we can do anything we want. I get asked if I’m scared every single day to be doing what I’m doing.. Sometimes I really am, but I’ll never allow it to dictate my decisions.
I wrote something for @project.vanlife
on how I stay safe as a solo woman. Being prepared makes all the difference. In my bio now.
We’re currently making yet another cross country trip for a quick gathering and then slowly heading north all the way to Washington! I’ve never been to the PNW before so I’m really excited to see everything there. Please leave me any recommendations you have! I know there are tons. 🙏🏼 I wanted to write some lovely, eloquent caption about this past year but a) I’m super late to the game and b) so much happened in 2018 that reflecting on all of it is kind of overwhelming in a beautiful way. But this year I have lots of plans, so many things to do, and can’t wait to see where life takes me. Wishing you all a beautiful 2019! ❤️
Looking back through photos from the day we moved into the van. Ella was super confused and nervous but warmed up much faster than I expected to her weird, little home. The passed few months have been a learning experience in every way imaginable, and thinking about all the places we still haven’t been is so exciting. There’s SO much left to see! I could live in this van for a lifetime and still not get to it all. But I’m happy to be hanging out with family for the holidays, and then we’ll see where we end up next 🤷🏼♀️💕 I’m kind of loving this whole not planning thing. Just going wherever I feel drawn. Anyways, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and spending lots of time with the people you love!
No, of course they aren’t looking at the person with the treats. Why would you possibly think that? 😂 We had to make a stop in Utah to meet the lovely @adventuringwithnala
so Ella could finally meet her twin. These two were so hilarious together and it’s crazy how similar they are in almost every way possible. I’m so happy we were able to connect and get out some of my girl’s playful energy before the rest of the drive home. But I already can’t wait to stop by again to see if they still look the same once they’ve grown up a bit. I would love to see if you can try to guess who is who 🤔 See you soon, Nala!
Also, thank you so much for all the recommendations on my last post! I’ve tried to listen to as many podcasts as possible and so far a few of my favorites have been: My Favorite Murder, Armchair Expert, and The Dirtbag Diaries. Still going through others but those are just a few that I’ve loved!
Our first time hosting in the van was SO MUCH FUN. 💕 Kristin actually reached out this summer because she was interested in van life. We met up for wine and have basically talked every day since. Now she’s bought a van and is starting her build! There are very few things that I love more than seeing solo women jump on the road and take off. She tested things out this weekend with us and hopefully learned what she likes, doesn’t like, etc. 👌🏼 Anyways, Ella and I are headed back to the Midwest to finish out the year with family. We have about 27+ hours to drive. Recommend places, podcasts, things to do, ANYTHING PLEASE. 😂😭
Thanks for hanging out with us @wheretheroadforks__